Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Review: Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy)

Forty-three years ago when Night of the Living Dead opened in theaters around the world, Director George Romero began paving the way for zombie enthusiasts all over the world to gradually grow and develop the characteristics of these mindless brain eating ghouls.

Where once zombies shuffled along like slightly non-threatening meat suits, now they race toward you at unbreakable speeds. The zombies of today make the zombies in Night of the Living Dead look like harmless fuzzy kittens. Play a game of Left 4 Dead or watch 28 Days Later and you’ll quickly discover that the days of taunting your TV with threats of “give me a room of zombies, I could take ‘em” are long gone.

As interest grows in these mindless brain eaters, the Sci-Fi and Urban fantasy genre has been quick to welcome novels about zombies with open arms. In a populace suddenly fascinated with zombie apocalypse references and zombies becoming intermingled into pop culture, there are few original ideas that stick out. Don’t get me wrong I love my zombie books and novels but I do enjoy when every now and again someone just gets it right.

Mira Grant, who also writes urban fantasy novels under Seanan McGuire, gets the prize for just that.
In Deadline, the anticipated sequel to Feed--her first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy-- Grant delves back into her world of zombies, zombie killing bloggers and plots that will leave you second guessing more than an episode of CSI.


The book follows Shawn Mason, the brother of Georgia Mason—one of the main characters in the first book. If you’ve been reading up until now you’ll know that Georgia contracted Kellis Amberlee after a dart containing the virus was shot into her arm in an assassination attempt. Sadly, Georgia amplified and Shawn made a painful decision to end her life before she amplified into one of the very things he taunted and killed as a Newsie.

In the beginning of Deadline it’s quickly realized that Shawn has completely had a mental breakdown and is talking to his dead sister… who also talks back. It’s complicated.

But to his credit, Shaun is completely devastated by Georgia’s (George) death and talking to her is the only way he can cope. Well, that and of course seeking revenge; and Shaun does it with a vengeance. With the help of his new team and a fugitive CDC researcher who has faked her own death to escape a science experiment gone awry, Shaun finds himself on another adventure.

Without spoiling it too much, more is revealed to the gang when researcher, Dr. Kelly Connolly shows up. They learn that an experiment at the CDC headquarters went horribly wrong and Kelly has faked her own death in hopes of escape. Having Kelly around is inconvenient but she may have answers tying in with George’s death.

Shaun took out Governor Tate, the corrupt politician who essentially ordered his sister’s murder in the first book, but the conspiracy is far from over as Shaun his team get closer to finding out the origins of Kellis Amberlee.


Although it took me a little while to get used to the idea that Shaun is essentially talking to Georgia who is in fact dead, this was an excellent follow up to the first book. I was a little worried since I wasn’t quite sure how McGuire was going to continue the series without her main character, but Shaun is witty enough and Becks, Dave, Alaric, Maggie and Mahir are interesting enough and have the right amount of banter between them to make the good supporting characters.

I think this series is one of two that can make me cry. I am such a girl, but I cried reading the last few chapters of Feed, and I got teary eyed during a few chapters in Deadline. Always awkward when you’re taking public transportation… believe me.

I was a fan of Buffy in the first book and I am a big fan of Maggie in the second. With her pack of quirky miniature bulldogs, snark and humor, Maggie is one character that stands out above the rest.
I mentioned this in my review of Feed but I also appreciate the amount of thought and planning that went into creating Grant’s zombies. I especially think that the idea of having the virus dormant in all humans until they die is interesting and an avenue that hasn’t been discovered until now.

All in all, this is an excellent read that won’t leave you feeling like you just lost more brain cells to some clich├ęd plot-line involving zombies.

Rating: 4.75/5

Deadline is the sequel to Feed in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Trilogy series. The third book, Blackout is scheduled for release in May 2012.


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